BeeTV is a joint venture of Avex and NTT Docomo that offers cellphone users original content from a major media content company to customers of Japan's biggest mobile carrier. The venture, which was launched in May of 2009, reached the 1.5 million user mark in December of 2010 and is well on its way to hitting the planned 3.5 million user target by March 2013.
Japanese mobile phone users have been able to access TV content on their phones for some time now but BeeTV takes the concept to the next level, styling itself as “the first TV station in Japan that is dedicated for phone users who want to watch mobile TV on their phones.”
Here's how it works: For a monthly fee of 315 yen (about $3.80), BeeTV subscribers who are i-mode cellphone users can view a wide range of original video content including dramas, cartoons, music videos and more. This video explaining BeeTV is in Japanese but is interesting nonetheless even for those who don't speak it:
Most new cellphones in Japan come equipped with a 1-Seg digital TV tuner and some models even have 2 tuners, allowing users to watch one TV program while recording another for viewing at a later time.
BeeTV aims to capitalize on the ever-increasing pool of mobile phone owners, the reasoning being that since the technology is in place, providing content and a simple way to access it can be both cheap to implement and lucrative to exploit.
Japanese BeeTV should not be confused with Bee.tv, a Milan, Italy-based provider of programming recommendations technology for TV, Web and mobile. (via Asiajin and iTechDiary)